Overview Covered services Who can get palliative care? How has it helped people?
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What is palliative care?

Improving the lives of people with serious illness

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness.

It helps manage the problems and stress from a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the person and those who help care for them.

Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and social workers. They work together with a person’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

Palliative care is appropriate for any age and at any time in a serious illness.

How can palliative care help?

Palliative care helps people with serious illness stay at home at home rather than having to go to the ER or the hospital. Studies show it 

  • Reduces physical discomfort
  • Improves quality of life
  • Makes living with a serious illness easier

For both the person and those who help care for them.

multi-generational family 2

Covered services

What services are covered by Blue Shield's Palliative Care Program?
  • Help with pain and other problems
  • 24/7 access to help and support
  • Help with making treatment decisions and arranging medical care 
  • Help with coordinating medical care and communicating with doctors
  • Support for the family 
  • Meal delivery and transportation, in some cases 
Where are these services delivered?
Throughout California wherever the person needs or wants them such as:
  • In their home
  • In clinics in all metropolitan areas
  • In all large hospitals
  • Via phone or video in rural areas
  • In many nursing homes
Who is on the palliative care team?

Specially trained:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Home health aides
  • Other specialists

Who can get palliative care?

Palliative care is a standard service offered to all members with primary coverage from Blue Shield of California. 

It’s also available for Medi-Cal, Medicare Advantage, and Cal-MediConnect beneficiaries as part of Blue Shield-Promise Health Plan. There is no additional cost.

Palliative care services are in addition to a member’s other medical care at no additional charge.

Does palliative care cost more?

No, it is available to all members with primary coverage from Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California-Promise Health Plan. There’s no additional cost.


How has it helped people?

Almost 2,000 people and their families have gotten palliative care from Blue Shield.

  • All got help with physical problems, planning, and coordinating their medical care. 
  • All got support for themselves and their families
  • Program satisfaction is high at 95%
  • 90% were able to be wherever they wanted to be (such as at home) for their care

three women various agesFor example, Rita and her family got Blue Shield’s palliative care. It helped:

  • Treat her pain so she could play with her grandson again
  • Simplify her medicines so they were easier to take
  • Coordinate appointments with her primary care and heart doctors and got them talking to each other
  • Reconnect her with her church
  • Helped her daughter worry less about her
  • Helped her stay at home and out of the hospital

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Health Tips

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